Christmas Tree Supply Faces New Challenge
The nation is currently experiencing a Christmas tree shortage, which has spanned a few years now.
Christmas trees take about 8-9 years to grow tall enough to be put on the market. That means problems this year with weather, the economy or farmers won't be felt until 2027.
The newest challenge is one affecting produce supply right now. Now that a form of the hemp plant has been legalized to grow CBD, farmers are starting to switch to the special crop in an effort to make more money.
A local potato farmer in Waterford did just that. Mark Troyer and his family have grown potatoes, corn, wheat and other crops for nearly 50 years in Erie County, but now have added CBD to the list.
"There is a lot of risk in this crop, but we wanted to start looking at things that can turn higher margins, higher gross profit per acre and so certainly we're excited that CBD might be one of those," Troyer said.
While no Christmas tree farmers in the area have switched to growing CBD, it's a potentially lucrative crop that could draw those farmers in. Right now, CBD is mostly affecting produce that has a low gross profit.
"I think if there's anything that will have acres taken from it it will be corn acres and there's plenty of corn in the market nationally," he said, "Corn is just—we're just trading dollars in that area"
When it comes to figuring out how much land should be dedicated to each crop, Troyer says he's hoping to add more land for CBD.
"It's a constant battle," Troyer said. "We kind of determine how our acres are going to be allocated according to what we think the saleability and future price of them will be."
The Troyers have now created their own CBD brand called Farmulated and have products already made. Their supply includes jellybeans, dog treats and roll-on.
Erie News Now will be recording and sharing a preview of the facilities at the Troyer's media open house on December 13th.